(Source: www.straitstimes.com)

SINGAPORE – Rail operator SMRT has clinched the operating contract for the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line with a bid that is 30 per cent lower than rival SBS Transit’s.

SMRT’s bid was $1.7 billion for the nine-year contract to run the new line, which will open from 2019.

In announcing the award on Friday afternoon (Sept 15), the Land Transport Authority  (LTA) noted that recently privatised SMRT also scored higher on quality in the tender.

“In particular, its proposal featured a commitment to invest heavily in predictive and reliability-centred maintenance to enhance reliability.

“SMRT Trains’ proposal also included a strong staff development plan, including customer-oriented training, and tailored community engagement initiatives. SMRT Trains also undertook a set of contractual guarantees in the form of service fee deductions should key obligations not be met,” said LTA.

SMRT currently runs the East-West, North-South, Circle lines as well as the Bukit Panjang LRT.

SBS Transit, despite having a higher rail reliability track record going by performance statistics in the first half, lost out. This will relegate it to being a minor player in the growing rail industry. SBST currently runs the North-East Line, Downtown Line and Sengkang and Punggol LRT lines.

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